Removal of Hungary's border fence
May 2, 1989, the first visible cracks in the Iron Curtainappeared when Hungarybegan dismantling their 150 mile long border fence with Austria. [Stokes, G: "The Walls Came Tumbling Down", page 131. Oxford University Press, 1993] The relatively open border with the West allowed for hundreds of East Germans vacationing in Hungary to escape to Austria and then travel safely to West Germany.
The open border infuriated many Soviet Bloc countries who feared a return to a pre-
Berlin Wallday when thousands of East Germans fled daily to West Berlin. Although worried, the Soviet Uniontook no overt actions against Hungary taking a hands off approach.
The most famous crossing came on
August 19, when during a "friendship picnic" between Austrians and Hungarians over 900 East Germans rushed the border and escaped into Austria. [Buckley, W: [http://www.nationalreview.com/buckley/buckley200405250859.asp] ]
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